Sunday, 15 January 2017


5 Privacy Protecting Apps You Need to Use Right Now
By Mihir Patkar,
Make Use Of, 14 January 2017.

On the internet, you can never be too safe. New threats keep coming up all the time, whether attacking your security or trying to mine your data. It only makes sense to do whatever you can to stay secure.

And just as the internet takes, the internet also provides. Developers have made everything from extensions that will stop data-miners to simple apps that monitor how secure you are. Here are five of the best that you should use right away.

1. Two Factor Auth: Lock Your Accounts Twice!


Two-factor authentication (2FA) is fast gaining popularity as a must-have security measure for any digital account. In case you’re new to the concept, Tina has explained 2FA in detail. But which services can you use it with? That’s what this site is here for.

Two Factor Auth (Web) has every single website that supports or doesn’t support 2FA, and which type of 2FA is available. For example, your secondary token can be hardware or software related, and differ in how you receive it: email, phone call, or SMS.

There are some services you should lock down with 2FA right away, but make this site your weekend project. In case the worst happens, you’ll feel mighty thankful.

2. IOT Scanner: Are Your Devices “Open” on the internet?


The “internet of Things” (IoT) promises to change how we live our lives. But it’s also fraught with risk. When you have things like your fridge or your smart TV always connected to the internet, that also leaves them open to hackers. In fact, IoT is a potential security nightmare.

IoT Scanner (Web) is a simple tool that figures out which of your devices is open publicly. It checks the IP devices of all the gadgets in your home network, and sees if they are available openly on Shodan. Shodan is a database of publicly-accessible devices on the internet.

After you click the “Check if I am on Shodan” button, it’s a good idea to also do the Deep Scan. That’s the one which you want to know about, and ideally, you’re looking for the green tick at the end of it.

3. Scan Gmail, Find Everything You Signed Up For


Over the years, you’ve probably used your Gmail account to sign up for several services. Whether you used the power of Gmail aliases or not, you might have forgotten which places you have an account at. And if you used the same password and one of those gets hacked, suddenly, you’re in grave danger. (Web) scans your Gmail inbox to find everything you have subscribed for over the years. It reads your emails, yes, but your privacy is guaranteed by working entirely offline. The app does not send any data to its servers. So run it once, let it find everywhere you have registered, and then start visiting those sites to delete the accounts you no longer use.

4. Privacy Badger 2.0: The EFF’s Privacy Protecting Extension


Websites are always tracking you. On any page you go, even something as small as Facebook and Twitter’s social sharing buttons are tracking you. All of this information is used to build a “profile” of you, sold to advertisers. Want to stop that? Privacy Badger 2.0 (Chrome, Firefox) is what you need.

Privacy Badger is made by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a non-profit independent group protecting consumers on the internet. We’ve reviewed Privacy Badger earlier, but the new version deserves to be mentioned again. In v2.0, Privacy Badger works faster than before and adds more protection. Specifically, it tackles the problem of websites and malware trying to find your IP address, which can lead to more harm later.

Privacy Badger is completely free. The EFF recommends also enabling Do Not Track, but we found that Do Not Track doesn’t do much. Still, better safe than sorry, eh?

5. Passlock: Easy Email Encryption for Everyone

You already know that sending sensitive data on emails is risky. You never know who might be snooping. The ideal solution is to encrypt your emails, but it’s a messy process. Passlock (Web, Chrome, Android, iOS) makes it simple.

In a nutshell, Passlock is a client for the Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) standard. The app creates a “lock” and a “key” for you. You can send your lock to others. Others can apply your lock to any email they want to send you. This way, since only you have the key, only you’ll be able to open the lock and read the email. Even if someone else intercepts the email, they can’t open it since they don’t have the key.

Passlock works on smartphones as well as with email, including Gmail. It’s extremely easy to use, and it is built by a security professor to boot.

What’s Your Privacy Fear?

Privacy is an area of increasing concern in the internet age. From what we share on social networks to what we share privately, so much of our personal data is online. And it’s difficult to control who sees it.

In terms of leaks, there are three broad routes. Which do you fear most? Do you fear your data being in the hands of independent hackers, of large corporations, or of government or state bodies?

Top image credit: typographyimages/Pixabay.

[Source: Make Use Of. Edited. Top image added.]

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